A massive heart attack, also referred to as sudden cardiac arrest, is a condition in which erratic heart rhythms cause the heart to suddenly stop beating, explains the Texas Heart Institute. The condition can cause blood flow to the brain and organs to halt, which can lead to sudden death.
Sudden cardiac arrests or massive heart attacks are different than classic heart attacks, but the conditions can occur simultaneously, notes WebMD. The difference between sudden cardiac arrest and a classic heart attack is that classic heart attacks are caused by blocked arteries that hinder blood flow to the heart, while sudden cardiac arrest is caused by a malfunction in the heart's electrical system.
Symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest are often severe and cause immediate loss of consciousness, according to Mayo Clinic. However, individuals may experience warning signs such as vomiting, vertigo, tiredness and heart palpitations. It is important for individuals experiencing potential warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest to seek immediate medical attention, as death or brain damage can occur within six minutes of onset. Medical conditions that may contribute to sudden cardiac arrest include congenital heart disease, heart valve conditions that cause thickening of the heart muscles, coronary artery diseases and enlarged heart muscles.